Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mmmmmm Souuuuup!

It's cold. Brrrrr. I want soup. MMMMMM. I need to shop. I've got lots of food, but not really any soup stuff. I'm gonna be stuck with a can of Chunky, but you lucky readers could make THIS! Cauliflower Soup! It's easy and yummy and perfect for a cold day! It's also great reheated and freezes well. So here goes... try it and then come back and tell me if you like it!

Cauliflower Soup

Salt and pepper
A little Extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 small heads cauliflower (cut into smallish chunks)
3 ribs celery and leafy tops finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (IMO fresh thyme makes all the difference in this soup!)
2 tablespoons flour
1 quart chicken broth (I prefer the Swanson Low Sodium)
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
I've added hot sauce, bacon, cheese, or ham other times I've made this also, but it's just as good without it.

Ok.. on to the cooking.
Get yourself a big pot. Put in about 2 T. of butter and the EVOO over medium heat. Add your cut up cauliflower. Add onion, thyme, and celery, cook for a few minutes. After 2-3 min, push everything to the side of the pot. In the empty space add the last T. of butter and melt it. When it's melted stir the flour into that butter making a rue (sp?). Then add the chicken broth and half-and-half and simmer until the cauliflower is semi-soft.

This is where I always make a gigantic mess. If you have one of those fancy immersion blenders- you can finally use it now! If, like me, you only blend daquiris and margaritas, go ahead and pull that blender out! I can't blend a whole pot at once so this is where I get out a series of big mixing bowls and blend, dump, blend, dump, till it's all done and I can put it back in the empty pot! I like to blend mine till it's smooth, but it's pretty good chunky too.

I. am. hungry.
I should've had dinner before I blogged this...

Anyway... I can't do a post without a little shameless self promotion... so here goes. I learned how to make frame purses and I whipped up a ton of them over the weekend! I thought it would be a short project, not an all day event. Looked like a fabric tornado came through here by the time I was done. I love how they turned out and I'm thinking of going on a little purse frame shopping spree here soon. Must. Make. More.

I'm not in a bloggy mood, really just wanted to get the recipe up for someone on the Etsy forums and hadn't blogged in a short eternity. Sooo I'm off... and I may be back tomorrow~~~

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Man Cave vs. Mantuary

I was directed to the site The Mantuary by it's "Founding Father" I think to imply that referring to my basement as the Man Cave is immasculating and unoriginal. Let it be known that I didn't name the Man Cave, and I don't watch HGTV. :) Reading this blog made me feel like I was snooping around in Man Land, but I was drawn in and even laughed a little. Really, you should check out his site. Show your hubbys. Then later write the Founding Father of the Mantuary and thank him for saving your marriage. Or me, since I figured this out long ago. I love the Man Cave. I don't care what the hell a man calls it as long as it exists. It lets me watch DVR'd episodes of Days of Our Lives while sitting on my own cozy couch, instead of being forced to watch endless hours of football. Or hockey. Or baseball. Or any other sports, is there something this man doesn't watch? It hides the empty pizza boxes, nasty chew spit bottles, and empty beer cans, that would otherwise be overtaking my kitchen and/or living room. In fact, it even has an entirely different smell than the rest of the house and that alone is enough to keep me out. The shouting at the TV and the obnoxious sound of video game mortar fire ensures that I will forever stay upstairs.

I have been known to join the boys downstairs, after a couple glasses of wine, for a rousing rendition of Cheeseburger in Paradise on Rock Band, but then I'm outta there!

I'm now left wondering if making a Man Cave sign to "decorate" the Man Cave is crossing a line in Man Land... so, Founding Father of Mantuaries, do I at least get some points for the woodburned sign? I tried to make it manly... and I promise not to decorate the Man Cave without explicit permission anymore. Haha.

A little more about the sign... I had such a great time designing this with Mary Lou Beyer of Hidden Gem Studios. I've known Mary Lou for a good long time, but this was my first excursion to The She Shack (oh yeah, us ladies need to get away sometimes too!) where I got to work on this great plaque. We had an excellent time and I'm so very impressed with how it turned out! Thanks again Mary Lou!

Goodbye Holidays!

They took so long to get here, it's hard to believe they're over already! Goodbye Holidays!

My Leftover Family and Wayward Friends Christmas with my sis was a success! Our ham was yummy (thanks Mom!) and everything else was equally delish. It was so nice to see all of them and not have to run out after a couple hours to go visit more family.

Christmas Eve was extra special also. My Sis-in-law Kate snuck into town from Paris and it was lovely as always to see her. My Bro-in-law called us on that Skype video chat thing from Africa and we all crowded around the computer and opened presents with him. It was pretty fantastic how technology brings people together these days. I sure did get lucky with in-laws too!

I got spoiled :) My hubby got me a new laptop and I'm madly in love with it. It takes a third of the time to get Etsy stuff done now. I knew my old computer was old and slow, but wow - what a difference! I'm still getting used to the little touchpad thing instead of a mouse, but I'm gettin there. I want to show off the awesome plaque I had made for my Hub's Mancave, but all the pictures I took are at work, oops. That'll just have to wait.

BUT... with all this free time I'm not spending cussing out my computer, I needed a new project. I've been impatiently waiting for a fabric shipment so I've been putting off the sewing. In my boredom, I cleaned my closet (yet again, I think my fabric is partying at night in there, cuz whoa what a mess) and found an almost finished locker hooked rug. ALMOST DONE! So I dragged it out and finished it. I LOVE the colors. I LOVE the size. I even backed this one! It's beautiful and I just can't decide if I want to list it or keep it.

One thing I did figure out with this rug though was pricing. Between cutting fabric strips, rolling up giant balls of fabric, and then the actual rug construction and finishing, this rug took approxiamately 150 HOURS. After factoring in the cost of supplies and such, I make somewhere around 30 cents an hour to make a rug. 30 cents an hour?! I love every one of my rugs so much. They take me so long to make and turn out so soft, squishy, and beautiful. But I'm not going to give them away for a measly 30 cents an hour and I'm not going to jack the price up by hundreds of dollars to make it worth my time. I'm just going to be done with rugs. So here is the final (well maybe, I have one more unfinished rug left, but I may never finish that one) Locker Hooked Rug. It's been fun learning you new craft... it's too bad you can't be lucrative. I'm leaving you.